Come this January, the year won't be the only thing "new."
That's when there will be two new four-legged residents of the Brunswick Mineral Springs Bed and Breakfast.
Einstein and Max.
Einstein is an American Kennel Club (AKC) registered German Shepherd Dog.
As explained on the AKC website, the breed ranks second in popularity of the 192 breeds of dog officially recognized by the organization.
"Generally considered dogkind’s finest all-purpose worker, the German Shepherd Dog is a large, agile, muscular dog of noble character and high intelligence," reads the description. "Loyal, confident, courageous, and steady, the German Shepherd is truly a dog lover’s delight."
I could not agree more.
Einstein understands commands in both English and German. He loves exploring, plays nicely with other dogs and yes... with cats, and his favorite toy is his blue, waffle-ball. He actually plays soccer... using his paws! It's a hoot to watch him dribble down a field, tee it up and kick it.
I can also tell you that German Shepherd Dogs (referenced by most owners of the breed as 'GSDs') need a lot of exercise -- both physically and mentally -- to keep them from going (and to keep them from driving you) insane from boredom. Of all dog breeds, they are ranked as the third smartest.
Because of this, my husband and I enrolled Einstein in a wonderful training program at New Sentry K-9 in Brooksville, Florida. After learning the basics -- sit, down, stay -- he was introduced to the obstacle course where he walked across swinging as well as elevated bridges and got to jump over barriers even through windows! He loved that part the most.
Because GSDs can be a bit intimidating and because Einstein would be moving to the B&B, we thought it would be a good idea to take Einstein's training to a new level.
So, when New Sentry's owner, John, thought he was ready, we registered Einstein in a course through which he could earn an AKC "Canine Good Citizen" award.
"The Canine Good Citizen Program teaches good manners to dogs and responsible dog ownership to their owners," the AKC website explains. "The 10-step CGC test is a non-competitive test for all dogs, including purebreds and mixed breeds. It is a prerequisite for many therapy dog groups and some homeowner’s insurance companies encourage CGC testing. There are also an increasing number of apartments and condos that require resident dogs to pass the CGC test."
The test took place on the grounds at New Sentry during an event they were hosting for National Dog Day in order to promote dog adoption. I was nervous, not so much because there were a lot of people and dogs walking around and about 15 other dogs participating in the test program, but because the test would have a rather large audience of event attendees. My worries, however, were unnecessary. Not only did Einstein pass with serious flying colors, he became the audience favorite. As you can see in the picture when he went to receive his certificate, he was so proud.
Something else wonderful happened that day.
That's the day Einstein met who would become his new brother... Max.
Max is an AKC registered English Bulldog. Of the 192 breeds of dog, English Bulldogs rank fourth in popularity.
"Kind but courageous, friendly but dignified," the AKC website describes the English Bulldog as a "thick-set, low-slung, well-muscled bruiser whose 'sour-mug' face is the universal symbol of courage and tenacity."
"These docile, loyal companions adapt well to town or country," the AKC notes further.
"You can’t mistake a Bulldog for any other breed. The loose skin of the head, furrowed brow, pushed-in nose, small ears, undershot jaw with hanging chops on either side, and the distinctive rolling gait all practically scream 'I’m a Bulldog!'"
The first time I saw Max was when I was communicating with Sandy Henson of Animal Rescue Friends Network, Inc., a group that participated in the event held at New Sentry. My husband and I were looking for a companion for Einstein. Along with photos of the many possibilities they had available at the time, they sent me the photo shown to the right.
It was love at first sight.
It took about a month to complete the application/interview/meet and see what happens process... Then, on May 23, 2018, Max became a precious part of our family.
Max is a big boy. Where the AKC says English Bulldogs "can weigh up to 50 pounds," Max tips the scale at around 70 pounds.
According to our Veterinarian, Max isn't overweight, he's literally "super-sized."
He's the opposite of a "runt."
She also said that Max is the healthiest English Bulldog she has ever seen.
Unlike most of his breed, Max's legs are not bowed, and -- because his snout isn't as smushed as most -- his breathing isn't as labored. That isn't to say he doesn't snore. He does. Loudly. It's all part of his adorable charm.
If you're wondering how Einstein and Max get along, the photo to the right might give you some insight.
Einstein adores Max, and Max idolizes Einstein.
And while they will steal each other's toys, compete for attention and generally omit no opportunity to annoy each other just as any other siblings, they are inseparable. Where one goes, the other follows... always.
They also prove the theory that "opposites attract."
While Einstein loves exercise and outdoor adventures, Max prefers to snuggle on a sofa in an airconditioned environment. Where Einstein enjoys long, spirited walks, Max is happy just going to the end of the block and back. Where Einstein has a regal countenance, Max is silly. Einstein loves to run. Max... not so much. While Einstein is extremely intelligent, Max is, well... Did I mention that we was silly?
"Their easy-going nature and physical laziness might be mistaken for slow-wittedness, but these dogs are by no means dumb," a popular pet website insists of the Bulldog's ranking of 98th on a list of 100 for dog-smarts, "they're just too lazy to perform tricks or obey silly commands when they can just relax and drool themselves to sleep."
They are tenacious and brave, strong and loyal. Why else would the Marines choose the Bulldog as their official mascot?
So, if you come stay with us after January, you'll get to meet Einstein and Max. If you have your own fur-babies, be sure to bring them along.
We'll supply the playground and the cookies.